NEW YORK – January 3, 2017 – Combate Americas today announced four spectacular Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) bouts, including a bantamweight (135) main event between rising stars Steve Swanson (14-2) and Gustavo Lopez (6-2) – for the league’s much-anticipated, historic debut in Mexico on Thursday, Jan. 19, live on Azteca America (10 p.m. ET/PT) and UFC FIGHT PASS® (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT).
The event, which will take place at El Plaza Condesa in Mexico City, will also air via tape delay in Mexico the following night, Friday, Jan. 20 at 11 p.m. CT., on TV Azteca, S.A.B. de C.V. (BMV: AZTECA; Latibex: XTZA), one of the two largest producers of Spanish-language television programming in the world.
In the atomweight (105 pounds) co-main event, former world championship challenger Nicdali “The Night Queen” Rivera-Calanoc (9-9) will make her long-awaited return to La Jaula, the Combate Americas cage, and face red-hot Lisbeth Lopez Silva (3-3).
“We are excited to be assembling a phenomenal fight card, and to have the opportunity to be at the forefront of MMA’s growth in Mexico with our unique and fast-growing sports franchise,” said Combate Americas CEO Campbell McLaren.
In other main card action, two hard-hitting, Mexico City rivals, Rodrigo “Kazula” Vargas (9-5) and Marco Antonio “La Rocka” Elpidio (4-1-1) will collide at lightweight (155 pounds).
Fellow upstarts Jose “The Ghost” Ceja (4-3) and Joey “El Cazador” Ruquet (3-1) will square off at bantamweight.
Additional bouts for the Combate Americas event will be announced soon.
The 5-foot-5, 36-year-old younger brother of UFC star Cub Swanson, Steve of Indio, Calif. is a 36-year-old prolific knockout artist whose family originally hails from Chihuahua, Mexico.
Swanson is a winner of his last four fights, all by way of (T)KO. He is coming off an explosive, 38-second stoppage of Christian Rios on October 22.
Fighting out MMA legend Randy “The Natural” Couture’s Xtreme Couture camp in Las Vegas, Nev. Lopez is a 5-foot-5, 27-year-old finisher originally from Yakima, Wash.
Lopez emerged unbeaten, with a record of 3-0, during the Combate Americas “Road To The Championship” fight series that spanned from September 2015 to May 2016. He has notched five of his six professional career victories via (T)KO or submission.
Rivera-Calanoc is a 5-foot-3, 31-year-old resident of Las Vegas, Nev. and native of Tulsa, Okla., as well as a battle-tested veteran of the sport who has faced a handful of top rivals in the women’s field, including Jessica Penne.
Rivera-Calanoc, whose ancestral roots are in Chihuahua, took a split decision in her last start on March 12, from Ronni Nanney.
Lopez Silva of Mexico City is aiming for her fourth straight win on the heels of a unanimous decision over Marcel Yineris Nieto on December 2 in Panama City, Panama.
A former welterweight (170 pounds), Vargas of Mexico City is a 5-foot-8, 31-year-old powerhouse who will put a three-fight win streak on the line.
To date, the Mexican Pride team member has claimed all of his wins by way of (T)KO or submission.
Elpidio, whose nickname translates to “The Rock,” is also a former welterweight standout who will look to secure his third consecutive win.
In his last effort on March 19, Elpidio, a member of the Renzo Gracie affiliate team in Mexico City, scored a second round (3:16) TKO on Francisco Vargas with an onslaught of punches.
The 5-foot-7, 31-year-old Ceja of Port Arthur, Texas will make his second start under the promotion of Combate Americas.
In his debut for the league on October 14, Ceja avenged a previous loss in dynamic fashion, scoring a first round (4:22) knockout on Irwin “The Beast” Rivera in the first live televised, professional MMA event since UFC 7 in September 1995.
Ruquet of Las Vegas, Nev. via Venice, Fla. is a 5-foot-8, 24-year-old upstart and seasoned striker who will make his second appearance in La Jaula after submitting Luke Faultersack with an anaconda choke in the second round (4:28) of action on April 25.
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